Recovery is still king.
It’s pretty simple: If you bounce back quickly from a tough workout you’ll carry that fitness momentum into successive workouts. “If you go out and train really hard without properly hydrating and having the right electrolytes and nutrients in your body, you’re putting a lot of stress on your body, and that’s not healthy,” explains Kunz. “Your body will let you know that by going into an overtraining state.”
Antonucci says the bulk of research recommends about 20 grams of protein within 30–60 minutes of workout or race completion, and whey protein is generally recognized as the best source. A central ingredient in First Endurance’s Ultragen product, whey protein is a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids required by the body and helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissues and boosts immunity. So the next day the athlete goes to train, instead of starting that day with low glycogen levels or torn muscle tissues, his or her body has become a little bit stronger.
Antonucci also recommends replacing fluid and sodium loss within two hours (drink 24 ounces of fluid per pound you lost) and replenishing carbohydrates (at least half your weight in grams). Her suggestions for antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory recovery foods include brightly colored veggies, berries, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, avocados and salmon.